Syllabus for Behavioural Ecology


A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1BG319
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2007-03-15
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Revised: 2012-04-26
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2012
  • Entry requirements:

    150 credits complete courses including alternative 1) 60 credits biology and 30 credits chemistry or 30 credits earth sciences; alternative 2) 90 credits biology. In both cases, the biology should contain 15 credits intermediate course in Ecology.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

All animals are selected to pay close attention to the behaviour of others, be it conspecifics, prey or predators. The course treats these behaviours as evolved characters with a survival and a reproductive value. After completing the course, the student should be able to

  • Account for and critically evaluate theories and models for sexual selection, foraging, mating and life history strategies, sociality, predation, speciation and communication
  • Account for and critically evaluate the connection between behavioural ecology and the conservation of biological diversity
  • Handle and present current problems in behavioural ecology, in writing as well as orally
  • Independently and critically review scientific texts and theories


Sexual reproduction, ways of reproducing, and sexual selection. Models for sexual selection, foraging, alternative mating and life history strategies, cooperation and group living. The relationship between sexual selection and speciation, life history, sexual conflict and partner manipulation. The relationship between life history theory, energy use, predation and survival. The evolution of communication and design of signals. Behavioural ecology and the preservation of species diversity. Orientation in current behavioural ecology research, with an aim to prepare for research.


Teaching consists of lectures, group exercises (labs, computer and field exercises), group seminars and group as well as independent literature assignments. Independent work as well as discussions and group exercises make up an important part of the course. The course includes handling and presenting behavioural ecology problems in writing as well as orally, and independently and critically reviewing scientific texts and theories . Participation in group exercises, seminars and literature assignments are compulsory. The course employs integrated communication training with feedback and self-assessment.


Modules: Theory 10 credits Exercise 5 credits

The module exercises require an active participation in group as well as independent assignments. The course ends with a written examination.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2012

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Alcock, John Animal behavior : an evolutionary approach

    9th ed.: Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates, 2009

    Find in the library


Last modified: 2022-04-26